1. One thing the sponsors and rabid supporters of this bill has not discussed is the actual cost of this bill, its impact on the fiscal balance (currently in historic deficit levels) and whether any future taxes are required. Hope you can have some numbers on this.
2. Good parenting needs to be legislated at the taxpayers expense by programs such as Positive Parenting which promote optimal parenting skills so obviously lacking. Damaged children are not productive citizens and become expensive casualties.
3. The RH Bill intends to help parents who already want to limit the number of their children; it does not tell them how many children to have. It is the population of our countrymen from classes C, D and E that continue to rise and they are the ones who need the services that government provides (through increased borrowing). I agree that responsible parenthood cannot be legislated, but irresponsible parenthood can be prevented through proper legislation.
4. Here is Reasons Why We Need the RH Law by Clara Rita Padilla of EnGenderRights, Inc., publication funded by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The 18-pages paper lists 11 reasons why: To respond to the clamor of the population who want the RH bill; To prevent unintended pregnancies; To prevent maternal deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth; To prevent infant mortality; To help individuals choose responsibly when to have children; To reduce abortion rates; To give rape victims a better chance to heal from their ordeal; To prevent early pregnancy and STDs among adolescents; To address the rising HIV/AIDS cases; To avoid the negative impact of large families on the poor; and To free women's bodies from politics and fundamentalism.
5. Nonoy, I think you are missing the point. The law is not to legislate responsibility it's to educate people and to give them access to devices so that they can exercise responsible parenthood. Cheers. -- Reiner Gloor, PHAP Executive Director (I am posting this comment with his permission)
My reply to the above comments:
On #2. I think this is clear advocacy for a big, nanny state. People cannot be trusted to take care of themselves; parents cannot be trusted to make appropriate planning about their households, much less take care of their kids. Thus, there has to be a BIG and monster institution, the government, that will guide people how they should take care of themselves and their kids. A big nanny state is like a socialist state. It is supposed to give you everything but it will also take everything you've got.
All existing government socio-economic programs were created in the past with long-term view. Education for the poor, healthcare for the poor, housing for the poor, credit for the poor, agrarian reform for the poor, social welfare for the poor, justice for the poor, public works for the poor, currently conditional cash transfer for the poor, and soon, population control for the poor...
The issue of "irresponsible parenthood can be prevented through proper legislation" is answered by my points above.
4. It seems that the RH/RP bill, when it becomes a law, is a panacea for all the 11 problems mentioned above, like prevention of maternal deaths, infant mortality, unintended pregnancies, HIV and STD, and so on. Government is a superman. It can stop and prevent all the mentioned problems. Really?
When the Department of Education (currently DepEd, previously called DECS, MECS, MEC, DEC, Dept. of Instruction, etc.) was created more than a century ago. the goal was to prevent high illiteracy, prevent high drop out rate among children, prevent low quality education, prevent early pregnancy via civic and good manners subjects, and so on. Did this happen?
If this happened as well as to other sectors, then those students would have been productive citizens many decades ago, and the need for expanded public education in the succeeding generations would have been reduced if not eliminated as people have become well-educated and self-reliant adults.
Educating couples about RH and giving them access to devices -- should government do this? These can not be done by other parents, various civic groups, corporate foundations, NGOs, church-based groups?
It is noticeable that there is too much focus on population size - economic growth link. Granting that this is true, which causes which?
In my essay last month, What is the role of government?, I wrote,
It boils down to only one important function: Promulgate the rule of law. Government has laws against killing, against stealing, against kidnapping, against corruption, against plunder, against carnapping, etc. Let government implement ALL of them, ZERO EXCEPTION....
What about the very poor? Who will take care of them?... if the poor will put up a vulcanizing shop, a barbeque stand, a barber shop, or plant kamote and pechay in vacant lots, or buy those farm products and sell in a corner stall, government should get out. Do NOT require these small and micro entrepreneurs to secure costly and bureaucractic business permit, barangay permit, sanitation permit, location permit, various other permits and pay lots of taxes and fees.
In short, if the poor will become industrious and would want to stand on their own, government should step back. If the poor will become lazy and steal, government should arrest them and put them behind bars. The rule of law says NO STEALING. It does not matter if the theft is the President of the country or a Congressman or the poorest man on earth. No one should steal, period. No ifs, no buts, no preconditions, no exceptions.
What causes poverty is heavy government intervention and taxation while not promulgating the rule of law. By enacting many restrictions and prohibitions on ordinary citizens but not applying the same restrictions to government people themselves and their friends. Poverty has little to do with high population growth.